1930 - 2024

Dorothy Marie Rieke (Wilberger), 93, was born on October 19, 1930, in Julian, NE, in the house her grandfather helped build. Growing up on a farm meant raising chickens and riding horses, an activity she loved.

Dorothy graduated from Nebraska City High School and started teaching in a rural schoolhouse at age 16. Later, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in secondary education from Peru State College and took additional courses from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Oklahoma.

In 1952, Dorothy married Kenneth Rieke, and they had a loving marriage for 71.5 years. Dorothy’s family called them the “lovebirds.” They enjoyed travel to Branson, Missouri, and Norton, Kansas, church activities, dinners with friends and quiet drives in the country.

Dorothy invested in students’ lives during her 44-year teaching career in secondary education. She taught in the Auburn, Stella, Humboldt, Johnson and Table Rock districts and loved every minute in the classroom. English was her primary subject, but she also coached volleyball and led a drama club.

After retirement, she worked for Humanities Nebraska, speaking at 80 engagements and to over 4,000 people throughout Nebraska. Her topics included “Ghosts, Ghouls and Goblins” and “Nebraska During the Great Depression.”

Her background as an English teacher equipped her to write and publish hundreds of magazine articles about various topics including travel, agriculture, historical events, baking and nostalgia. A few publications where her articles appeared include family RVing, Backyard Poultry, Country Neighbor, Nostalgia Digest and Escapees.

Dorothy’s love for the Lord led her to many serving opportunities including taking homemade meals to the sick, inviting friends to holiday dinners, and teaching a Sunday School class at the Auburn Christian Church. She also sent monthly letters of encouragement to those in rest homes.

Dorothy joined our Lord in Heaven on May 3, 2024. She is preceded in death by her parents, Marie and Roy Wilberger, and her sister, Phyllis Sanders. Survivors include her husband, Kenneth, her daughter, Cindy, and her sister-in-law Muriel Docker.

Dorothy’s funeral service was Wednesday, May 8, 2024, at the Auburn Christian Church. Rev. Nate Powell and Jim Hardy officiated. Janell Kellett was accompanist for congregational singing. Casket bearers were Tom Snodgrass, Brandon Snodgrass, Quentin Bowen, Todd Zimmerman, Steve Nelsen, and Joe Epler. Burial was in Wyuka Cemetery at Nebraska City.

Services were entrusted to Hemmingsen Funeral Home of Auburn.

Nemaha County Herald

PO Box 250
Auburn, NE 68305
PH: (402) 274-3185
FAX: (402) 274-3273